TM Arts Collective: Five Years Young!

Where we are now…
Five years ago I wrote a piece for the Tamborine Times entitled ‘Keeping you posted’. Well we haven’t been too consistent on that front so I’m going some way to rectify that now. In that article I gave a brief history of the way in which Mountain residents have responded to their lifestyle, the landscape and to their creative and commercial impulses. I looked at the evolution of the Association we know as Creative Arts and how it successfully meets the needs today of so many of our community. Then I explained why the next logical step for artists and artisans on the Mountain was to somehow bring together a rather fractured artistic community to better advocate for needs of this community.
Thus the TM Arts Collective was born. As a grassroots association the TM Arts Collective wanted to establish a working artists and artisans’ hub and to create a signature tourist destination to promote community activities to educate, demonstrate and exhibit the abundant skills amongst our local artistic community. And in 2016 the Collective is still working towards these goals with some achievements on the way.
The Collective became an incorporated body in mid 2015. The most recent achievement was to gain an Australian Business Number (ABN). But what a pain it was to get that ABN. Many hours were spent negotiating the pitfalls cunningly positioned on the online form. Due to the assistance of numerous patient and pleasant departmental officers we finally made it.
The Collective’s first major step was when our fledgling group under the auspices of the Goat Track Theatre Co. won a Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) grant in 2012 to research and develop a plan for a local arts hub on Tamborine Mountain. Dr Sally McKinnon from Beechmont was engaged to guide us with this daunting task. Engagement research included desktop work into the models of other community arts hubs, stakeholder meetings and interviews, community engagement and a community cultural and commercial facilities audit. It was a big year. I have an online copy of the resulting report, Getting to Yes, if you are interested.
And all that while we were homeless and basically penniless. Early sporadic attempts at fund-raising, and the climbing of another rung on the grants ladder with the kind assistance of U3A on one occasion, mean that now we are not penniless but not flush either! Exciting news this week thanks to the effort of member Janis Bailey. We have some money coming in from the Volunteer Grants (Department of Social Services). Earlier fund-raising attempts enabled us to purchase such equipment as gazebos, folding tables, display equipment and shelving, and tablecloths. Only a year or so ago it was a case of setting up for community events – initially outdoors in the Botanical Gardens or the sports ground. The weather was a huge factor, and the time of year. We sometimes found ourselves needing to pack up in the dark – certainly not an ideal way of operating. Over this time we needed to work with community organisations such as the Garden Club and the TM Sports Association which were at all times most helpful and supportive.
A lot more has happened over the last five years and I’ll try and do justice to some of these achievements and activities.
We joined the Brisbane Visual Arts Community (BVAC) in 2013. This means that our members can participate in popular Brisbane events throughout the year. As well, we have the protection of their insurance policy. Some of our members have their own insurance, but this arrangement is most helpful when the alternative insurance options are much more expensive.
At the local level we now have a mutually beneficial arrangement with our very own TM Show Society. We are grateful for the assistance they have afforded us and we hope our contribution to the Society continues to help this hard working group. Locals and visitors support the very successful monthly markets as well as the local show, which is now known as the Showtime Carnival. TM Arts Collective contributes to this event and the Society is planning a bigger and better 2017 event with one of our members Tania Crossingham working in a consultative role with them.
Our main activities on the Mountain are Open Studios and The Artisan Fayre held on the first weekend in December. Our inaugural Fayre held last year was so successful that we have now included it on our calendar of annual events. There are also the BVAC events mentioned earlier and off-mountain events such as the recent Arts in the Olives held on Mothers Day. These events are advertised in our postcards on display around the Mountain, and if you would like to help us by displaying some for your business, please contact me (55450043) or our Secretary Shannon Hunter (55438448).
Community activities have included an early project in the local branch of the NAB. Members faced the challenge of beautifying one of the large safes with some trepidation – on my part anyway! Another time we worked with local primary students from St Bernard’s State School during a lunch recess. More recently we have been involved with the Five Senses Festival – a May-long event, the brainchild of Janis Bailey and the Calanthe Collective. This Festival has seen some exciting events unfolding throughout the month. As part of this festival, some of out members are displaying their work in the library, thanks to the support of the Scenic Rim Council and the library staff.
However, despite this wonderful support the Library in its present configuration and with its space demands is not able to offer the ideal space for the display of art works.
During the Vibrant Villages Project when community members and groups were invited to have their say about future directions for the Mountain, the Collective sent in two proposals. These gave options on how our local library space could be enhanced with a community gallery and information centre. We were pleased with the reception these proposals received with support from all the candidates before the recent election. One of the proposals included the suggestion for an attractive community meeting place outside a new and larger library space rather than spending unnecessary funds on the erection of a rotunda in the centre of the medium strip.
I must acknowledge the work and commitment of one special member. That member is the bookbinder and leather worker Lorraine Brown, better known to friends as ‘Brownie’ and to the community by her business name ‘Bound by Brown’. Lorraine, with her strength, focus and drive, brought us through the difficult times when we had so little – just the idea of what we wanted for our creative community. Incorporation meant that finally Lorraine was able to let go of the responsibilities she had managed almost single handedly. Now these responsibilities are shared more equitably among a committee.
In early December 2015 Lorraine suffered a stroke. This was a tragic event for Lorraine and Sean her partner, the Collective and the Mountain community at large. After a long stay and rehabilitation in hospital Lorraine is now in Lions Haven Nursing Home, Hope Island. Friends are welcome to visit. Later this year we will have our first AGM and at this meeting we will be honouring Lorraine, who will become our first life member.
We hold our monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of the month at the St Bernard’s Hotel from 6.30 pm in the public bar during Happy Hour for those who can make it a little earlier for the 7pm start.
At our last meeting we welcomed some new members including our special guest Richard Roper. Richard gave us the details of his proposed development plan for a creativity hub at the sports ground, which would include the performing as well as visual arts. This certainly would be an exciting development for the Mountain, and we thank Richard for his visionary ideas and the hard work involved in launching such an ambitious and exciting plan.
To sum up: TM Arts Collective is fortunate to have a small but growing creative group of talent with members offering different skills and specialisms. We have survived to tell this tale and have had some pleasing achievements along the way. We acknowledge the valued support from a number of community organisations and our local ever-ready-to-assist councillors, Nigel Waistell and Nadia O’Carroll.
Please contact me on 55440043 if you have any queries. You can also find us on Facebook: Tmartscollective Tmac and our web page is: http://www.tmartscollective.wordpress.com. Specifically find our membership brochure on http://www.tmartscollective.wordpress.com/join/ and our online membership form on https://tmartscollective.wordpress.com/join/membership-form/ .
Helen Griffin, President.

img_1097 Caption for the photos attached:
Richard Roper addressed us about his visionary plan for a creativity hub at the sports ground.